Quantcast 2008 Tampa Bay Rays: Astros Take 2 of 3 from Rays
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Astros Take 2 of 3 from Rays at the Trop

Coming off a huge sweep of the league leading Cubs you would think the Rays (43-30) would easily knock off the Houston Astros (34-40) who had lost 8 in a row coming into Friday night right? Wrong! The Astros beat the Rays 4-3 Friday night as Roy Oswalt (6-7) pitched a great game for the Astros striking out five and giving up two earned runs off of seven hits in seven and two thirds of an inning to pick up his sixth win of the year. Tampa Bay Rays hats Carlos Lee led the Astros with a two run double in the first as he went 2-4 with a couple runs driven in. Matt Garza (5-4) pitched a decent game for the Rays giving up three earned off of seven hits through six innings while striking out eight, but it was not enough as the Rays rally fell short in the ninth. Dioner Navarro hit a solo shot in the ninth off of closer Jose Valverde, but Valverde settled down and retired the side to pick up his 17th save of the year. Edwin Jackson will pitch tonight for the Rays against Wandy Rodriguez of the Astros.

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Can you say walkoffs and throwbacks! The Houston Astros (34-41) busted out the retro orange and yellow jerseys of their past and the Rays (44-30) wore home pinstripe jerseys honoring the St. Petersburg Pelicans (1989-1990) of the Senior Professional Baseball Association. Then, Tampa Bay won the game with a walkoff hit. After falling behind 3-2 in the eighth inning, the Rays battled back in the ninth with three pinch hitters delivering including Gabe Gross’ game winning 2-run double to left to win 4-3. The Rays rallied off of Doug Brocail because closer Jose Valverde pitched the previous night and had threw in four games and the Astros did not want to let him pitch again. Carlos Lee continued to play great baseball as he went 2-3 hitting his 16th home run of the year and two runs driven in. Wandy Rodriguez (2-3) kept the Astros in the game as he went five and two thirds of an inning only giving up two earned and five hits while striking out six. Edwin Jackson (4-6) went six and a third of an inning giving up two earned off of five hits and striking out three. Carl Crawford had two hits to lead the Rays. The rubber game is tomorrow with Scott Kazmir on the hill for the Rays and Brandon Backe going for the Astros.

Another pitcher’s duel in Tampa Sunday afternoon with Kazmir (6-3) going against Backe (5-8). Kazmir had a very solid day but he made two crucial mistakes that turned into home runs and that would be all the Astros (35-41) needed to win the game and the series 3-2. He gave up a solo shot to Hunter Pence and a two run shot to Carlos Lee who tormented the Rays (44-31) all series long. Kazmir gave up three earned and struck out seven through five and two thirds of an inning but he lost for the third time this year. Evan Longoria hit a solo shot off of Brandon Backe and he went 1-3 with two runs driven in but it was not enough as the Rays fell at home. Backe pitched well giving up only two earned and striking out five through six and two thirds of an inning for his fifth win of the season.

Next up the Rays travel down to Miami to take on the Marlins. The Marlins have played pretty solid baseball as of late and it will be a great series to watch. Jorge Cantu who continues to tear up the baseball this year will face his former teammates again this year. When these teams battled earlier in the season Tampa Bay took 2 of 3 at home. The pitching probables are as follows:

  • A. Sonnanstine (8-3) 4.92 ERA vs. S. Olsen (4-4) 3.51 ERA
  • J. Shields (4-5) 3.94 ERA vs. R. Tucker (2-1) 4.50 ERA
  • M. Garza (5-4) 4.10 ERA vs. M. Hendrickson (7-5) 5.73 ERA


By Andrew Nuscis
Philadelphia Phillies & Tampa Bay Rays Correspondent

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